In 1999, leaders from BC Cancer, working with Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Smith, created the world’s first "Genome Sequencing Centre" to be embedded within a cancer clinic.
Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) at BC Cancer has since worked with local, national and international partners on the Human Genome Project, on many cancer projects and on reference genomes for a diversity of species. In 2003, we were the first in the world to sequence the genome of the SARS coronavirus. By 2006, we received one of the world's first "next generation" DNA sequencing machines (the Solexa/Illumina) and became famous for high throughput and large scale sequencing; to date, we have sequenced nearly 3 quadrillion (3,000,000,000,000,000) nucleotide bases—equivalent to nearly one million human genomes.
We have trained thousands of highly qualified personnel in genomics, computational biology and bionformatics, published many thousands of peer-reviewed papers in some of the world's most influential scientific journals, attracting nearly 100,000 citations. We have been part of hundreds of diverse research projects in the health and life sciences and have contributed to many thousands of national and international research collaborations. Our scientists have been leaders on projects awarded more than $1 billion from more than 100 different funders around the world. In 2019, 11 GSC researchers were among the most highly cited in the world.
We are now bringing genome sequencing, bioinformatic techniques and expertise to whole populations of cancer patients, helping to prevent, diagnosis and treat many different cancers in entirely new ways and identifying risks for hereditary cancers. In the process, we are learning about the genomic underpinnings of other diseases, revealing causes of rare genetic disorders and uncovering unique therapeutic targets. We are making discoveries that are shaping the world's fundamental understanding of life, health and disease.